West Ham begin their European journey in Croatia, taking on a Dinamo Zagreb side who are European regulars. Jake Osgathorpe has a bet for the clash.
1pt Both Teams to Score 'No' at 13/10 (BetVictor)
West Ham face a tough task as they begin their Europa League campaign, with a trip to Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb in their opening group game.
While it may not look it on paper, the group David Moyes's side have been drawn in is a competitive one, and were West Ham to get out of Group H, it should be deemed a success.
The Hammers are known as an attack-minded team, but I think they will take more caution in this game against a tricky opponent with much more European savvy than them.
A point would be a good result for the Hammers, and while defeat would be far from a disaster, it would put them on the back foot in terms of qualifying for the knockout stage.
Expect a strong team from David Moyes, with the Hammers more than capable of shutting up shop and operating on the counter attack.
They need to tighten up, as even in a successful start to the Premier League season they have looked vulnerable at the back.
Dinamo Zagreb are a solid outfit and are European regulars. Let's not forget, this is the team that knocked out Tottenham in this competition last season at the round of 16 stage. They were quarter finalists in 2020.
The season before that they qualified for the Champions League group stage, so Zagreb have something West Ham don't - European pedigree and knowhow.
They will have been greatly disappointed not to have made the UCL this season too, losing to Sheriff Tiraspol over two legs, but what we have seen from them in 21/22 is that they are defensively resolute for the most part.
Zagreb have kept 10 clean sheets in 15 competitive games this season, which is some record.
Both teams have scored in only three of their 15 games this term, meaning BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE 'NO' has landed in 80% of matches.
Couple that stat, which can be mostly attributed to Zagreb's defence, with the fact that West Ham will likely play in a more reserved manner on the road in Europe, and BTTS 'no' makes great appeal at a best price of 13/10.
I am surprised that West Ham are such strong favourites (6/5 generally) to win in Zagreb, and wouldn't put anyone off backing against them on Thursday.
Score prediction: Dinamo Zagreb 0-0 West Ham (Sky Bet odds: 11/1)
Odds correct at 1035 BST (15/09/21)
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